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PS3 Game Review



Format: PS3
Deep Silver
RRP: £44.99
4 020628 509873
Age Restrictions: 18+
Available 06 February 2012

If there is one thing that’s guaranteed to freak Vincent Brooks it's his girlfriend, Katherine, talking about marriage. Her sudden speculation on the course of their relationship causes Vincent to start suffering from nightmares. In these he is forced to climb a myriad of boxes, if he fails to reach the top, he dies...

Catherine is a combination of adventure and platform puzzler game, developed by the Atlus Persona Team and published by Atlus, Deep Silver (Europe).

The game has a distinctive anime look, which, depending on your favourite type of animation, will either be a boon or a hindrance. The characters are well drawn, Vincent is particularly quirky, but then, so is the game, as Vincent converses with man sized sheep, which are also climbing for their lives. Care has been taken over making the storyline compelling, and, thank god, it’s a game with good vocal acting.

The game is split between two modes; the story involves Vincent wrestling with the change of direction in his relationship with Katherine, which becomes even more problematic when he meets the enigmatic Catherine and wakes up with her in his bed. During the day Vincent must negotiate these relationships, but at night the main bulk of the game kicks in.

On paper, the idea of climbing boxes to get to the top, while the ones below you fall away, seems like an easy, if not a dull concept. However, the construction and execution of this phase of the game makes it a challenging and frustrating (in a good way) experience. Things start off fairly sedately. Vincent can climb, but not jump, he can hang off appropriate boxes to get around obstacles and push certain boxes to makes stairs.

What makes the game challenging is that, whilst there is usually more than one solution, it only takes moving one block, in the wrong direction, to well and truly screw your progress. As you climb through the levels you can move more than a single block, create new blocks, shift a bunch around in one go and blow blocks up, though even with the greater number of options the solutions do not become easier. Add to this the existence of boss level fights and Catherine provides hours of happy puzzling.

That’s not to say that all the creative juices have been reserved for the puzzles, within the story mode the creators have imbued their characters with a real emotional core. The high quality animation makes you forget that you’re not watching an anime, rather than playing a game.

At the heart of this section of the game, are Vincent’s moral choices. Through reply to his text messages and interacting, and often helping other characters, Vincent moral meter will swing between good and evil. This portion really kicks in when Vincent wakes up next to Catherine, not his girlfriend Katherine. Between the competing feeling of his friends and having to juggle his old love and the new interest in his life Vincent’s decisions will lead to one of the multiple endings.

With so many branching choices, the game has a lot of replay value, especially if you’re a trophy hound.

So, an unusual concept, which has been given an almost flawless execution. My only complaint would be the ease at which Vincent falls off the blocks when he disappears behind one, though I suspect that has more to do with my panic button pressing than an internal flaw in the game.


Charles Packer

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